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TREND Program

June 5 through August 11, 2017


March 23 Announcement about TREND 2017 applications: We have filled all of our TREND slots for 2017.



A Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) Program sponsored by National Science Foundation

Program Introduction

The University of Maryland's Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, with support from the National Science Foundation, is offering exciting research opportunities for undergraduate students in the broad area of nonlinear dynamics. Students from a variety of universities and backgrounds typically work in teams of two or three for 10 weeks during the summer and are supervised jointly by faculty members and graduate students. The program begins June 5 and ends August 11, 2017.

Research projects will be theoretical, experimental, or both. Examples of research topics are: experimental studies of nonlinear systems - turbulence and flows; theoretical and computational studies of magnetic reconnection and the dynamics of energetic particles; nonlinear dynamics in charged particle beam systems; synchronization patterns in optoelectronic networks; the dynamics of soft matter, granular matter, and biomaterials; theoretical and computational studies of emergence in nonlinear dynamics; optical nonlinearity in topological systems; motion guidance for underwater vehicles using autonomous control and oceanographic models with forecast uncertainty; and dynamics of living cells.

A number of events will be sponsored during the summer to enhance the learning experience, including a weekly seminar series on a wide range of topics, the production of a multimedia communication piece for a general audience, and a research fair at the end of the summer where the students will present the results of their investigations.

Purpose of TREND

  • Involve talented students in a diverse research program
  • Introduce undergraduates to team-based and cross-disciplinary research
  • Provide the opportunity to sharpen oral and written communication skills
  • Help students prepare for graduate school and define career goals
  • Help students prepare for research and teaching positions throughout industry and academia

During the program, students develop their research projects, attend technical seminars, produce a multimedia piece, visit local industry and government organizations, and meet with leaders in the field. The summer program culminates in the TREND Research Fair, a half-day program during which student teams demonstrate their accomplishments and are evaluated by a panel of experts. The top prize for the best paper competition will normally be travel expenses to a suitable conference where the students can present their research results.

TREND students receive up to $5,400 for the 10-week period. This includes a $4,800 stipend for their work in the summer, as well as $600 for incidental daily expenses. In addition to the stipend, on-campus room and board in designated UMCP-owned and operated facilities is covered by the program (if the student resides outside the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area). Married student housing is not available.

TREND Projects 2017

The TREND projects that will be offered during the summer 2017 session are listed below. Project names are linked to their respective descriptions. Faculty members and project directors' names are linked to their home pages where available. You are encouraged to contact the project directors directly, or Prof. Michelle Girvan (, if you would like more information about a particular project.

Academic Credit

Students of the University of Maryland may receive up to 3 academic credits for their work during the summer. Students from institutions other than the University of Maryland may request transfer credit from home institutions subject to the constraints imposed by their degree program.

Qualifications and How to Apply

The TREND Program is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. Students must be currently enrolled in a college or university and have an anticipated graduation date of December 2017 or later. The minimum preferred GPA is 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. (Motivated students without the recommended GPA may apply, but such applications will only be considered if special mitigating circumstances exist.) The following items must be submitted to the TREND Program: application form, essay, two letters of recommendation, and an unofficial transcript. The online application and essay link may be found on the TREND application page. The application form and essay should be submitted through the online form. Letters of recommendation may be submitted electronically to or mailed to Prof. Girvan at the address below (note that TREND will not send out requests for letters of recommendation; this is the applicant's responsibility). Unofficial transcripts can be sent to These materials may arrive separately.

Regardless of the method chosen, the deadline for receipt of the completed application, essay, unofficial transcript, and letters of recommendation is February 17, 2017. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only on a space-available basis.

The Physics REU sites directors will utilize a common deadline of March 3, 2017, for students to accept or decline first round offers at domestic (non-international) sites. Sites may send offers to students at any time before this, but students will not be required to decide before March 3. Because of necessary organizational lead time, international REU sites may require earlier acceptance dates.

For further information about the TREND Program, please contact Prof. Michelle Girvan at 301-405-1610 or

Students accepted to the program must submit their official transcripts. Official transcripts must be sent by the registrar of your university either electronically to or to the following address:

Prof. Michelle Girvan
Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics
Bldg. 223, 8279 Paint Branch Drive
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742-3511

Important Dates

February 17, 2017: Deadine for entire application package to be received (online application, two letters of recommendation, and unofficial transcript). Applications received after the deadline will be considered only on a space-available basis.

February 27, 2017: First-round offers will be sent out (note that applicants may still receive offers after this date as first-round offers are finalized).

March 3, 2017: Deadline to accept or decline a first-round offer

After March 3, 2017 (rolling basis): Second-round offers may be sent out

TREND Fairs and Publications

2016 | 2015 | 20142013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | Publications

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